THE HAGUE – The world court on Tuesday concluded hearings on a case brought by Australia to stop Japan’s research whaling in the Antarctic .
This is the first case at the International Court of Justice involving Japan as a litigant. The Hague-based U.N. court is expected to hand down a ruling by the end of the year at the earliest.
At the center of contention is whether Japan’s whaling program in the Antarctic is scientific within the rules based on the International Whaling Commission treaty.
Australia argues that the whaling is actually for commercial purposes and therefore violates the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
At the final session on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Koji Tsuruoka argued that the purpose of the whaling is legitimate scientific research to obtain information that might help allow the IWC to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling.
The ICJ trial began June 26 and sessions have been held on 11 separate days.
New Zealand, which has joined forces with Australia against Japan, also expressed views critical of Tokyo’s stance.